As 2017 draws to a close, I’ve had time to reflect on how far Zone Focus has come in the last year. Going from a music and arts blog to a label is something I never thought possible. I am particularly proud of the last project we will publish in 2017. Mystigrix is a DJ/Producer from Bremen, Germany. A founder of the rave collective, Conartism, he started a series of illegal open-air raves which have evolved into club nights and festival stages.
Taking influence from the origins of House music and Warehouse raves he has created the Everyday Life EP exclusively for Zone Focus! The release features a collection of high energy, lo-fi house tracks with a touch of ghetto and acid mixed in for good measure. As a small gift for you NYE collectors, he has also produced “Love Her Right”. A disco-infused, swish sounding, bouncy number perfect for the glittering night. New school sampling mixed with soft female vocals makes this a delightful dancefloor jam.
ZF: So Mystigrix, let’s start with your name,
How did you come to form that particular alias?
Mystigrix: It’s actually a funny story. The name is a card from a French card game I used to play with my parents when I was a kid. It’s the card that makes you lose when you have it on your hand at the end of the game, the scapegoat. There is a German version of the game where the card is called “schwarzer Peter”, which means black Peter. My parents gave me the second name Peter, which doesn’t fit my French name (Cyril) at all. I decided to play with this and use the French version as my alias. The X is silent by the way.
ZF: What and who influences you in producing electronic music?
Mystigrix: I listen to a lot of different genres that I pull ideas from. Especially rap, funk and jazz are huge influences and elements from these genres are what I use in my music. I’ve been a drummer since the age of 5, so I get a lot of ideas for grooves in my head from the music I listen to and normally start working on a groove using percussion before adding other elements. Of course, current releases also influence me, it’s always nice to see what others have been up to and there are a lot of artists with really cool ideas that one can learn from.
ZF: You also have another project, Sumo Acid Crew, can you tell us about this?
Mystigrix: Sumo Acid Crew is a project that consists of my roommate Merlin (MAW) and myself. We DJ’ed a lot together and finally decided to give the whole thing a name. He’s an awesome producer and DJ and has been an important part of my musical journey. For now, it’s still a side project that is more about just having fun, but we are always working on new music and there might be some releases in the future.
ZF: In your home in Bremen, Germany what’s your favourite club and why?
Mystigrix: Sadly we don’t have a lot of clubs in Bremen so most parties happen at outdoor or underground raves. One of the clubs that has supported me on my journey is called the MS Treue. It’s a very special location because the club is on a boat located on the river Weser. I also really like the “Spedition” which is run by a collective of musicians and artists. It’s located in an old warehouse and I’m a huge fan of the alternative and underground vibe there.
ZF: You’ve been touring a lot this year,
which have been your favourite moments from those events?
Mystigrix: There has been quite a lot going on and I am very lucky to have been able to play out so many times. I really enjoyed all the gigs but the ones that stood out the most were probably the two Zugvögel Festivals I played at. It’s a series of two festivals, one takes place near Cologne in summer and the other one on the island of Tenerife in December.
I closed off our stage on the first one near Cologne in July, which was a surreal experience because the whole crew was partying together, celebrating the work we had all done together to make the festival happen. My gig on Tenerife a few weeks ago was crazy as well. We could see the ocean from the floor and it was warm enough to dance in shorts at night. Of course, the energy went through the roof.
ZF: What has been you’re top 3 tracks of 2017?
Love Tool – Jad & The
Saw You For The First Time – Laurence Guy
Galcher Lustwerk – What You Want Me To Do
ZF: Your “Everyday Life EP” has just been released on ZF!
Can you tell us about the various sounds you’ve created?
Mystigrix: I’ve always been a huge fan of acid house/techno and the energy that those tracks have. I wanted to make some really gritty lo-fi tracks with a touch of acid for this EP. I recorded the vocals to Everyday Life myself after walking around in Bremen on a grey and rainy day. The atmosphere in the city in that week was cold and dull which gave the track that ghettoish feeling in the end.
When We Freak was supposed to become an acid techno track with that dirty 90’s warehouse vibe. I felt that the vocals I added gave the whole track a housey feeling while still retaining that techno power in the end.
I made Funk Daddy after watching a documentary about the origins of house music and used some parts of that documentary as vocal samples in the track. It’s very experimental and something different from what I usually make and I feel that it adds a special little touch to the whole EP.
ZF: As well as your own work, you help run Conartism.
How are you involved in this?
Mystigrix: Conartism is a collective of musicians, artists and awesome people interested in organizing parties that I founded with a few friends in 2015. Originally we planned to organize a few outdoor raves. We were unhappy with the kind of parties that existed and wanted to realize our own ideas and have a platform for our music. Since then we have grown and the whole project has become bigger than we could ever imagine. We now have a regular event in a club, help organize festivals and even build our own stages on some festivals.
Together with other crews from Bremen, we fought to make outdoor raves legal by law in Bremen in which we succeeded. It’s crazy to see how fast things have developed when looking back. It is a lot of work and very time consuming but the experiences that have made us come together even closer and the awesome people we got to connect with, make it worth every drop of sweat that goes into our project.
ZF: If you could collaborate with any producer who would it be?
Mystigrix: At the moment probably DJ Psychiatre or Deejay Astral. Those guys are super creative and inspiring. I’m always looking for creative people to work with though and there are so many awesome producers out there.
ZF: What plans have you got for NYE, any special gigs planned?
Mystigrix: I’ll be at a private house party with the guys & girls from the Draußen Verlaufen and Mina Galera collectives from Cologne. They are really awesome crews that I got to know through the festivals that we helped organize this year and I’m looking forward to some crazy back to back sessions and cold beers with them.
ZF: Where do you want to take the Mystigrix project in 2018?
Mystigrix: I want to improve my productions and work more with other producers. I feel that there is a lot to learn from other musicians and I’m really excited to see what others have up their sleeves and to gain some new inspiration from them. Maybe I’ll be able to work on some remixes.
It would be awesome to get booked more outside of North Germany in the future because I find it very intriguing to step out of my comfort zone and share my perception of music with people from other parts of the world. Overall I’m excited to see where 2018 will take me on my musical voyage.